BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - On Joshua Specht's 16th birthday he was hoping to get his license, instead he received another birthday surprise.
"The doctor called me and told me that I needed to go to the emergency room," said Specht. "They were afraid I was going to pass out taking the drivers test."
His emergency room visit revealed his blood sugar levels were through the roof, especially for a seemingly healthy teenager at his age. Then came other symptoms, he was always thirsty and used the restroom a lot.
All the clues led up to a Type 1 diabetes or juvenile diabetes diagnosis. It's a disorder in the body's immune system that occurs when the immune system attacks and destroys certain cells in the pancreas. For the rest of Joshua's life, he will need to take insulin in order to stay alive.
Unlike Type 2 Diabetes, Joshua's health or weight was not a factor in his diagnosis. Joshua's father, David Specht, says there's a stigma when it comes to diabetes.
"People think it's the overweight persons disease and when you're talking Type 1, there's really nothing you can do to prevent it," said David.
"You could be rocking along just fine and the next thing you know, you don't know why you got it, how you got it, etc."
So they both decided to get proactive, joining the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation to bring awareness about the disease.
Since there is no cure and they can't change the outcome, both Joshua and David hope to make children and adults more aware of how to manage their diagnosis.
On September 14th they will participate in the Craig Floyd Memorial Walk to Cure Diabetes. Put on by the Louisiana Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, they organization hopes to raise $90,000 to fund research toward preventing, better treating, and curing type 1 diabetes and its complications.
The walk begins at Party City in Bossier City at 8am.